Skylark and Wallcreeper

416p. Yellow Jacket. Oct. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499807455.
Gr 4–6—Superstorm Sandy and the French Resistance in World War II are cleverly woven together in this intergenerational story about 12-year-old Lily and her beloved grandmother, Collette. In October 2012, Lily is visiting Collette in a Queens nursing home when the storm hits. When the nursing home floods, Lily helps evacuate residents, organize food, and reassure and resettle the residents in a Brooklyn shelter. Her worried, stranded mother accedes to Lily and Collette's request to stay together until the nursing home reopens. Anxious and distraught, Collette entrusts Lily with a small red box containing a Montblanc pen of seemingly great significance. When Lily accidentally loses the pen, a frantic search begins. With the help of her best friend, Johnny; a pen expert; and his French-speaking daughter, Lily embarks on a quest to retrieve the pen and uncover her grandmother's unknown past. In alternating chapters, Collette's dangerous 1944 participation in the French Resistance in Brume, France, unfolds. Secret signatures, harrowing missions, a special friendship, and code names are revealed to readers and eventually discovered by Lily. Lily is spirited, compassionate, resourceful, and independent. This lively story is enriched by vivid depictions of Superstorm Sandy's turmoil and impact, actions of supportive staff and helpful strangers, her grandmother's daring deeds during World War II, and Lily's placating, dutiful but often disingenuous cellphone calls to her concerned mother.
VERDICT Lily and her grandmother's juxtaposed stories of bravery will captivate middle grade readers and spark interest in better understanding the life, times, and experiences of older generations.

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